Webmasters consider paid links as the simplest way to get their website rank fast and top in search engine ranking page results. You can include paid links in your SEO campaign only when you have enough funds.
But even for those who have that budget, is it worth investing in paid links!
Paid links are against the process of natural SEO that affects organic search results. It is not fair with website owners to go for paid links.
Why so? Let’s read about the same in this post!
What are Paid Links?
Paid links are the backlinks, which are obtained by offering someone of high value that is dofollow.
In simple terms, it implies that you offer others something really valuable to earn a link on a website, which passes SEO value to your site. As far as Google is concerned, paid links are a big no.
When you are not breaking guidelines from Google and placing links, which are paid, then it is known as paid advertisements. Such kinds of links are advertisements on other sites, which hold the ‘nofollow’ attribute incorporated to the link code.
Nofollow implies that backlinks would not pass any link juice to the other page to target ranking.
Are Paid Links illegal?
Paid links are against the guidelines as per Google Webmaster. Whether you use any private network for the blog or you are a blogger outreach, paid links are illegal for Google.
It implies that something bad can happen if Google catches you. It levies a manual penalty against your website. This way, the organic search traffic on your website gets completely killed.
Hence, the one truth about buying links and placing paid links on the website is as risky as investing capital and time into false websites. All link types contain risks and it is very challenging for Google to know about them with absolute certainty whether a link is natural or not.
Google holds no sympathy with expired domains, however, it will definitely think twice before imposing a manual penalty on high authority websites like Forbes, or any other.
So, what can you do in this concern?
1. Be Courageous to Take the Risk:
If you are courageous enough to take the risk of losing your website’s traffic overnight, you must immediately take a step and ask for paid links. This is eventually a matter of risk undertaking.
This process is time-saving and can get you results faster. However, at a major risk!
So, it is completely your decision to determine whether you want to take that risk or not.
Just remember that there are certain kinds of links that come with high levels of risk. For instance, purchasing PBN links is much riskier than purchasing link placement on an actual blog.
2. Utilize a Proxy Website:
One of the effective ways to reduce the risk of being identified and penalized by Google is to create a website outside of your actual business. For instance, if you consider the website GotchSEO.com, it is a company website. It is possible to create numerous separate websites hypothetically named and that have the sole focus on ranking.
This way, if the website aiming for higher ranks gets a hit, at least your company website will stay protected and can perform uninterruptedly.
Definitely, this is not a full-poof and 100% effective strategy. Moreover, it can lead to more consumption as well as a waste of recourses and there is also some level of risk associated with your company website, especially if you link the two websites together.
3. Invest Your Capital Into Different Areas:
It is very clear and understandable that SEO is highly time-consuming. When you first enter into SEO, it is difficult to consider anything else.
This is not an issue in the starting as immersion is an efficient way to gain knowledge and learn. But this is something you have to adapt with time.
You can very easily get trapped in the vicious circle of SEO and forget about the highly influential activities performed outside SEO, which can help your business grow to the next level.
The reality is that most of the businesses are still not equipped for SEO. Hence, if you are not able to gain results from SEO, you must invest capital and time in other areas.
The most important thing is to create a great service or product. If you are offering great services or products, still your business can outperform without SEO.
One exception here is affiliate marketers, who can make a huge income without requiring a product.
So, some of the areas where you can invest to get backlinks are:
- Customer experience
- On-page optimization
- Sales funnels
- Designing and branding corporate identity
- Influencer marketing
- Paid traffic from Google AdWords, YouTube, Facebook, and others
- Growth Hacking
- Content Creation
- Technical Optimization
- User Experience
Paid Advertising vs. Paid Links:
Paid links are against the terms of Google and if search engines identify that your site contains paid links, it would be de-indexed completely. Google intends to showcase high-quality results to the users and sites, which utilize unethical techniques created to manipulate search results that don’t fall under this category.
Paid links is usually a method to cheat the search engines into considering that your site holds more authority than it actually is. When you pay for the links, they will usually end up displaying irrelevant or low-quality websites. So even if the links appear in the search results on an initial basis at least, they are not likely to attract potential visitors as they would not be appropriate to their queries.
Alternatively, you can illustrate a paid link strategy as a kind of advertising also. It must not be compared to more honest kinds of advertising like those, which make utilize of pay-per-click or pay-per-impression platforms. The eventual aim of paid advertising is often the same as it is with paid link building.
But the major difference is that they don’t create any impact on search results. The paid advertisements in the search results are clearly disclosed as sponsored links, so undoubtedly as to what they are. The paid advertising operates as an entire entity to fetch organic results in the above-board and not created to manipulate to fool search engines and offer others an unfair benefit.
How does Google know a Website Has Paid Links or Not?
At times, there were numerous marketers who could get away easily by implementing black hat SEO techniques. This was done by taking benefit of the fact that Google’s algorithm was not that much intellectual as it is today.
Presently, Google can better tell if a website has paid links, paid advertisings, or not. It is mainly achieved through keywords. Search engines check the site which links to you for relevancy based on the consistency of related phrases and keywords and if it identifies that the website consisting of a link is absolutely different from its subject matter, then it will showcase a bad effect on your site.
Another consideration that alarms bells in the algorithm of Google is that numerous paid link campaigns are automated. Link purchasers automate the process of link building in a way that the anchor text accompanying links is identical and Google notices the same very quickly.
What is the Cost of Buying Links?
As long as Google uses link popularity for ranking sites, backlinks will be used as a commodity. Just like other commodities, there are people looking to purchase and sell links.
But buying links has numerous forms and shapes.
Links can be a completely black hat, white hat, and grey hat.
Since 2018, there are numerous ways in which you can purchase links for the purpose of SEO.
1. Sponsored Posts or Paid Guest Posts:
If you will do a quick search on Google for purchasing guest posts, multiple websites will be listed that offer you link from guest posts for totally free.
Such services can be categorized into three sections:
- Guest posting services that are genuine – They perform a real outreach to genuine and secured blogs and guest post placements for you.
- Disguised PBNs – These service providers offer services as real outreach. However, in reality, they use PBNs. You can take their services a mile off as they are available at a cheap price. We don’t suggest using these till you are aware of and accept the risks linked to PBNs.
- Intermediary link sellers and buyers – These service providers pay websites for inclusion on behalf of their customers. They set a price and then estimate the difference. Usually, they work as middlemen in the process of selling and buying links
2. Purchasing Links from Bloggers:
It is where the bulk of link selling and buying takes place. It is private link purchases from bloggers.
This, however, is not always a money exchange.
It can sometimes be a bribe where a product or service is provided in exchange for a genuine review on the website of a blogger.
Undoubtedly, a review will include a link that looks natural in the content. It works as an unspoken agreement between link builder and blogger. For Google, even such links are detectable.
Most of the bloggers know the real value of a backlink, and hence, they now openly ask for payment.
So, what is the average cost of buying a link?
There is a huge variation in the cost of purchasing the links. The cheapest price was $50. It was a link obtained from a parenting blog holding a domain rating of 32.
The most costly quote for buying a link was $3,312 per year. It comes from a website holding a domain authority of 56.
When we considered almost 100 websites for the cost in a various niche, the average price of purchasing a link was somewhere around $361.44.
Hence, if you want to purchase a link on every website, it would cost you around $19,518.
So, this is almost the exact cost of buying a link when you ask to purchase one.
Ways Google Detects Paid Links:
If you are using or want to use paid links for your website promotion, you are at great risk. It is because there are numerous ways in which Google can detect paid links.
1. A Spam Report is Being Sent to Google By Your Competitors:
The information page of Google regarding paid links clearly states that webmasters can report about paid links to Google of other websites.
When you check a website, which is selling or buying links that pass Page Rank then you can check for paid links on that site and send the report to Google. This information is used by Google to conduct algorithmic detection of links on that website.
2. The Manual Spam Detectors from Google can Identify Paid Links:
Google prefers employing people who are best at judging the quality of search results displayed on Google. They even employ people that are experts at identifying paid and spam links.
3. The Algorithms from Google can Identify the Links:
As per the report created by paid links, Google has and can introduce new algorithms, which can identify paid links automatically.
This information is used to enhance the algorithmic detection of these links.
The head of the webspam team of Google, Matt Cutts state that in his numerous blogs that the algorithms of Google can determine paid links before they are even reported through a manual spam report.
On a Concluding Note:
It is time-consuming and difficult to gain good backlinks to your site. For this reason, backlinks play a crucial role in the search engine ranking algorithm in Google.
However, make sure you do not perform or use the automated link building techniques. It is because such techniques can bring your website in front of Google and this way Google will immediately impose down rankings to your site for almost all keywords being searched.